Month: December 2014

Don’t Try This at Home: Do-It-Yourself Brain Stimulation

This post is from the first issue of Substrates, a neuroscience magazine from the CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative. The first issue will be online in late January. Up-to-date info can be found at our Facebook or Twitter pages. Enjoy!

By Miguel Briones

Scientific advancement is known to spill over into the general public, but in today’s internet driven media culture, it’s easier than ever for the people to pick up on a scientific trend. Take, for example, the emergence of transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) as a way to improve cognitive abilities. tDCS is a form of stimulation that uses a constant, low current that is delivered to a specific brain area using electrodes, and neuroscientists have begun to investigate the effects of low current stimulation in hopes of further understanding brain functioning and possibly use it in therapeutic intervention.

Recently, tDCS has picked up steam in the media. Radiolab, in a podcast titled “9-volt Nirvana,” sat down with Neuroscientist Michael Weisend and talked about how tDCS works, while even giving a demonstration on Dr. Weisend’s own brain.  Sally Adee, in the New Scientist, writes that tDCS improved her ability to focus. Even the BBC, in an article titled “’Human enhancement’ comes a step closer,” discussed the ramifications of tDCS stimulation on the general public, with such questions as (more…)